The New York Attorney General’s office has announced an anti-trust investigation into the now infamous Turing Pharmaceuticals, the drug company which bought rights to Daraprim, (a 62-year-old drug used to treat parasitic infection in AIDS and malaria patients) and promptly jacked the price up by 5000% – from $13.50 to $750 a pill. CEO Martin Shkreli, a vulture capitalist who has been dubbed the “pharma bro” and also the “most hated man in America” for his infuriating smugness and casual disregard for the well-being of AIDS patients, has still refused to lower the price, two weeks after saying he would.
It is now being alleged that Shkreli may have been engaged in shady practices in order to edge out threats from generic versions of the drug. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman sent a letter to the company, which asserted that “while competition might ordinarily be expected to deter such a massive price increase, it appears that Turing may have taken steps to prevent that competition from arising. If the restricted distribution prevents or delays generic competition, it could subject consumers to unnecessarily high prescription drug prices.” Shkreli is known for using such tactics in the past; his last company, Retrophin (which is currently under federal criminal investigation for financial misconduct), was known for restricting distribution of the drug to keep it out of the hands of generic manufacturers.
A Congressional investigation, spearheaded by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is also looking into several pharmaceutical companies, including Shkreli’s Turing, for price gouging and profiteering off life-saving drugs. It is a brutal indictment of the way corporate America schemes and colludes with each other to extort millions from desperate patients who require these medications to survive. Shkreli has come to symbolize the greed and excess of American hypercapitalism, and America eagerly awaits to see justice finally served.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.